|Min germination temp:||16°C (60°F)|
|Max germination temp:||25°C (77°F)|
|Germination time:||9 days|
|Time to transplanting:||+22 days|
|Time to harvesting:||+73 days|
|Mature height:||90cm (35in)|
|Mature spread:||120cm (47in)|
|Ideal pH range:||5.6 - 7.5|
|Sow depth:||2.5cm (1in)|
|Sow spacing:||90cm (35in)|
|Sow row spacing:||90cm (35in)|
The Courgette or Zucchini is a summer squash, a prolific producer and a common addition to any vegetable plot with enough space to grow them. Smaller, but with a better, sweeter taste than marrow, the courgette has become the preferred vegetable of the two for home growers and supermarkets alike.
|Sowing Time (Under Glass)|
|Sowing Time (Outdoors)|
Choose a sunny spot with 90cm (35in) of space in every direction. They will also grow in containers or one or two plants per growbag if required.
Courgettes are heavy feeders and will benefit from having plenty of compost dug into the soil prior to planting.
Courgettes are easily grown from seed and can be sown in their final position in late May/early June or alternatively sow indoors from mid-April. Sow two or three seeds 2.5 (1in) deep and cover with cloches if outdoors. Leave cover in place for as long as possible before thinning the seedlings to leave the strongest one.
If you don't have space to grow courgettes indoors; seedlings can be bought from garden centres and are ready to plant outdoors as soon as the risk of frost has passed. Ensure plants are hardened off for 2 weeks before planting out by placing them outside during the day and keeping them indoors/under cover at night. Dig a hole slightly larger than the container the seedling is in, tip it out and plant into the hole slightly lower than its original compost level. Mound soil/compost around the stem to support it. Water thoroughly to settle the roots.
Keep plants well watered especially once fruit begin to form. A healthy courgette plant will consume up to 10 litres of water a week. A layer of compost or polythene around the plants will help to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Provide a high potassium liquid fertiliser once or twice a fortnight.
- Main article: Hand pollination of Cucurbits
Courgettes require pollination for fruit to form successfully. Insect pollination can be poor, in which case take a male flower, fold back the petals to reveal the pollen on the stamen, and insert it into the female flower. Females can be differentiated from the males as they have a tiny unfertilised fruit behind the flower head.
Harvest courgettes when they are 10-12.5cm (4-5in) long. Regular picking will ensure a long cropping season.
The flowers of the courgette and summer squash are also edible, the blossom commonly left attached to the stem, can be covered in batter and deep fried. The flowers, also called squash blossoms, do not keep as well as the fruit so are rarely found in supermarkets.
- Full troubles list: Cucurbit troubles